The Amazing Race season finale recap: Oh, the Places They Went!

The final legs took the teams to Japan and Hawaii, with rubber chickens, sushi bingo, and shaved ice along the way
Ep. 11 | Aired May 6, 2012

FERRY TALE ENDING  Despite a strong start, Vanessa and Ralph were not long for this finale


While Dating Divorcees fell seemingly fatally behind, the others had moved on to the next Detour: Sushi or Sumo. Everyone but Team Army chose the former option, which basically boiled down to a game of bingo, only with sushi rolls instead of letters. Teams had to identify the correct type of sushi and put it on their board until they had five in a row. After eating their sushi, they could collect the next clue. Elsewhere, Rachel and Dave chose Sumo and took to the streets to snap photos of locals posing in a cutout of three sumo wrestlers.

The sushi challenge proved difficult for Art and J.J. because -- surprise, surprise -- the names of the sushi were in Japanese! Regardless, they had two advantages over Brenchel: A head start and not being bickering ninnies. Speaking of which! There was a point at which Team Army's Rachel finally had it with Dave and yelled, "I'm so sick of you!" Finally! Join the club, sister. The frontrunners bickered their way through the entire challenge, which was overlaid with a hilarious graphic each time they snapped a photo that flashed up sumo wrestlers around the picture as a guy shouted "SUMO!" Despite their arguing, Team Army reached the Osaka Castle Pit stop first. By winning their seventh leg, not only did they snag a trip to Phil's homeland of New Zealand, they also tied the record for the most legs won in a single season on TAR (held by Nick and Starr of season 13 and Meghan and Cheyne from season 15).

Art and J.J. reached the castle next, with Brenchel close behind. It seemed like Ralph and Vanessa had no hope of making it to the finale, but they made quick work of sushi bingo and found themselves very nearly in a three-way with foot race with the guys and Brenchel. When the guys found the mat, the feuding couples reached a make-or-break moment. In the end, Rachel won by a nose. (See what I did there?) I think that qualifies as a good, old-fashioned "Suck it, Vanessa," courtesy of Big Brother. Meanwhile, can Vanessa please retire the phrase "Cheese and crackers" now? The Dating Divorcees took their elimination so well it was actually kind of boring.

NEXT: The final leg brings those chickens home

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